Leander Paes, with 18 Grand Slam victories in men’s doubles or mixed doubles, and Vijay Amritraj, a former player, broadcaster, and promoter, have achieved the historic distinction of becoming the inaugural Asian male inductees into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The Hall, headquartered in Newport, Rhode Island, and established in 1955, unveiled its Class of 2024 on Wednesday. Additionally, Richard Evans, a British journalist and historian, earned induction in the Contributor Category for the upcoming year.
Amritraj, selected under the Contributor Category, and Paes, entering the Player Category, hail from India and stand as the inaugural representatives of their country in the Hall of Fame, marking the 28th nation to be featured. In 2019, Li Na, a Chinese tennis player with two Grand Slam singles titles, achieved the distinction of becoming the initial Asian inductee into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Historic Achievement of Leander Paes and Vijay Amritraj
— InsideSport (@InsideSportIND) December 13, 2023
The upcoming induction ceremony is scheduled for July 20 in Newport. The inclusion of Paes brings an end to a two-year period without any nominations from the Player Category being selected. The Class of 2022 was the inaugural instance where no individuals on the ballot were chosen, and this repeated in the case of the Class of 2023. To secure a spot, candidates must receive at least 75% of the votes, with voters comprising media representatives, historians, Hall of Fame members, industry experts, and fans.
He achieved victory in eight major doubles championships and 10 in mixed doubles. This makes him one of just three male players in tennis history to secure a career Grand Slam in both categories. Alongside one of his former doubles partners, Martina Navratilova, he jointly holds the record for the highest number of mixed doubles titles in Grand Slam competitions.
Leander Paes amassed a total of 55 men’s doubles titles on the ATP tour. He also claimed the top spot in the ATP doubles rankings for 37 consecutive weeks. In the 1970s and 1980s, Amritraj, a professional player, played a pivotal role in guiding India to the Davis Cup Finals in 1974 and 1987. In a notable stand against apartheid, the team, led by Amritraj, boycotted the last round against South Africa in 1974. Following his playing career, Amritraj transitioned to become a tennis broadcaster and administrator, dedicating his efforts to humanitarian causes.